New AI software tracks down users who share Netflix accounts and passwords

Netflix password sharing could be a thing of the past

Subscribing to Netflix and sharing your password with family and friends so they can use the streaming service for free may be coming to an end.

At CES, UK-based firm Synamedia revealed artificial intelligence software that could be used by Netflix and other companies to detect and block the sharing of account credentials.

Don't panic if you're just sharing with family and friends, as Netflix may just nudge you to upgrade to a premium account.

It can also distinguish users who are sharing passwords with friends or kids who no longer live at home.

The year 2018 was really "the year" when 22-odd streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar drove much of the content giving an upthrust to viewers count on the web.

Normal streaming provider accounts when shared, bring down the individual subscriber fees and hence users have to pay substantially less to watch say a Netflix original.

If caught sharing, users could then be offered a premium service that allows for password sharing and more concurrent users. The internet consumer protection group Electronic Frontier Foundation has pushed for laws to protect password sharing.

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Recent research suggests roughly 26 percent of millennials share their streaming passwords with other people, a practice the market research company Parks Associates estimates to be worth around $10 billion by 2021.

Hence, the new machine learning-based system, which Synamedia has dubbed Credentials Sharing Insight.

In order for the software to work, a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or HBO Now buys access to Synamedia's platform, which analyzes data from all its users.

'It's a great way to keep honest people honest while benefiting from an incremental revenue stream'.

"User behavior is subject to individual changes in time, location and consumption".

Apparently there are "a number of firms" now testing the algorithm, but Synamedia is not naming names.

Available as a cloud or on-premise offering, Synamedia Credentials Sharing Insight is already in trials with a number of pay-TV operators.

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